Port Phenire

Port Phenire


Judge 1: Darrman

Gameplay: 1/10

The basic idea is fine, and the gameplay is reasonable enough for the first 20 turns or so. But things very much outstay their welcome. The chapter length is extreme: it took me four hours to finish the chapter. Within those four hours are many dead turns spent doing very little as the gaps between enemy spawns is oddly wide at times.
The hack is also very unstable. Declining yes-no prompts when visiting the phantom houses crashes the game. Status staves do not function. Energy Rings can’t be used. The Shield Axe is broken beyond compare: its effect text claims to negate ranged attacks – it instead pierces defence. It also has 1-2 range with broken animations: the hold L animation hack is absent, so this is a run-ending crash.
The entry was clearly not tested. Other bugs include pegasus knights not being able to use any weapon, trying to attack an enemy with Excalibur will crash the game, and several enemies, including the final boss, cannot use their weapons.

Presentation: 1/5

Character portraits are either out-of-place vanilla (Glen is a pirate and Tana is a general, names changed) or the “clay soldier” character creator was used. The music choices also were simple MIDI insertions: the second map theme was especially poor.

Story: 1/5

There barely is a story. A blatant Eirika knockoff in both name and appearance is defending a port. At the end, all of her army’s work was in vain as they got overwhelmed by dragons. This felt especially bad after a four-hour marathon. The submission would be improved by using the genuine Eirika of Renais instead of Elina the clone – a comedic story could be attempted.

Total Score: 3/20

Judge 2: MCProductions

Gameplay: 0/10

It’s Tower Defense, however I am unable to finish the map without savestates as my rom will occasionally hang with no real trigger, so I cannot give any points due to lack of ability to play the map.

Presentation: 1/5

Ugly map and most portraits are generic.

Story: 1/5

Excuse Plot is an excuse. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s hard to give points for something when it barely exists.

Total Score: 2/20

Judge 3: 2WB

Gameplay: 2/10

The first few turns really make me concerned. The map is entirely empty, except for two Soldiers at the top – I like the funneling, but it’s worrisome.

The next thing that I really hate is that you’ve got a neat set up that doesn’t tell me anything.
Gerik named Kurt at the bottom can be talked to, and then Caellach shows up saying you need 700 gold.
Go to a house and get told I need 550 gold. Alright.

Go to the Vendor/Arena/Crest location from there, and not have enough movement to actually reach the Inn, so i can’t get either of the two units I “purchased”.

…The Fighter only having 3 movement is.. very much unsignalled and could have been said in many places. I was expecting 4 or 5, since those are what soldiers have and the default movement value respectively.

The general clunkiness of hiring is really bad and painful. This is really not helped by having to enter the houses to find out how much they cost, and then having to remember how much each one costs, since they’re reasonably far apart such that visiting one to find out whether you can afford it or not wastes move points that are necessary to get to the shop and then to the inn.

This is in stark contrast to how the explanations in the guide – which I really feel like should have been told contains more information if I need it – tell me WHAT they do, just not.. how much half of them COST. That’s great. Agh. It’s so close.

The clunkiness of movement makes it hard to do the optimal thing (rebuilding ie. armory first) because it “doesn’t do something” besides the money return, which takes a long time.

The game also has significant end-of-turn frame lag – due to the Area events needed to set everything up, I assume.

….the advanced armory can’t be visited? I purchased it and the sell list doesn’t change in the base armory nor do I have the ability to visit it — there was a tile change that happened but the Ruins stayed ruined!

The more I play the less I understand the point of the 2nd barracks but I’m sure it’ll make more sense as I keep going.

Pegasus Knights, which I had to pay 700g and invest two actions into; can’t use a weapon? When they have 5 HP, what’s… the point?

I mean rescue shenanigans are good and I can even see multiple things to do with it, and the cavalry not being able to makes it pretty clean – but the “best” I can really see is using it to ferry Fighters with their miseerable 3 movement down to the mine.

Calling out the Halberdier skill is helpful. This is good. But the boss Halberdier that had already showed up also had that skill, so… kinda misses the mark. We already got got by the skill by the time this popup shows up.

The pirate event is quite neat, as well as the music change – but I was nowhere near it at the time it came in, so the next wave of the Ragelis soldiers really stopped me from feeling like I could safely progress onto the ship… which is a real issue when I’m sitting here at turn 38, well over an hour in (my igt was just shy of 2 hours, but I hadn’t been pausing when typing because I really like linus and lucy as music)

But alright, I take back what I said about the Pegasus. Flying rescuer is actually pretty worth it as its own utility in this context.

Eclipse and Fenrir are left as Dark tomes, which poses a problem.

Due to the lack of weapon triangle, there’s barely any reason to use a Fighter – the upside of the unit is that it does 15 damage for 200 gold, but the Mage offers you +1 movement and 1-2 range for 50 more gold. Three movement is so crippling and made so much congestion that I just had to completely abandon trying to level one up.

The total lack of progress indication on if the map is going to end any time soon is incredibly disheartening. I stopped having fun a while, I’ve spammed out a dozen extra units, aaaand the map is still going on while I have an unstoppable wall of units to work with and get enough money each turn to build as many more as I can get to spawn in a turn (with only one pegasus, this limit seems to be 5).

As some notes otherwise because I’m seriously more interested in that than continuing to play;

The Halberdier’s Vantage doesn’t have much of a chance to come up. Its +3 strength letting it one-shot Archers is neat I guess?

The Archer’s ability to take a hit is fantastic for early game ranged damage.
The Sniper is wild… or would be, if the Mage wasn’t easier to get. The Sniper’s “can take a hit” and +1 move properties can be made completely irrelevant by positioning well.

The Mage is probably the most insane. And the Sage doubles down on it — 6 move is crazy, 20 damage is enough to one-shot everything I’ve seen by turn 45 except the Berserker, and it also boasts the “can survive a hit”.

The Paladin’s 6 strength, and 4 movement with “+1 dmg per 2 tiles moved” combined with how everything else is increments of 5, means the Paladin as an upgrade is extremely bad – +2 move is a huge upgrade but it’s almost the only upgrade – this is a problem because I could just buy two base horses and have higher action economy and spread them apart to cover the same area.

I understand a significant part of my issue here is that I’m not really interacting with the Armory/Vendor limited use items, but at no point did I feel I wanted to try them out – sure, the Hatchet is 1-2 range that also has Vantage on it, but having only 4 uses and costing 100 gold means I’d just as soon rather have a Soldier to back up the Fighter instead.

Let me go through all those that I can see to explain why I don’t want any of them:

The Slim Lance gives me “strike first when attacked if hp<=50%". If I have a wounded Soldier, this is great, but I have to make sure constantly that they also only get attacked by units that they can kill on the counter... at which point, why am I not just also attacking with that Soldier? The Steel Lance gives me +5 damage which is huge! But I'm extremely scared of -2 movement, when my units already have such crippled move ranges. I could position well to deal with it, but I could...also just hire a melee and a ranged unit to make two attacks for 5 damage each, and they wouldn't require getting their weapons replenished either. The Steels even work "properly" - just holding them in your inventory tanks your movement - so they're a huge pain to work with holding. I don't need a Javelin because I don't have use for 1-2 because I can tank a blow from an Archer and then kill it. The price and uses make it painful. The Opportunist Lance is a conditional Steel Lance with no downside, which is good... except I can still just make two attacks instead, and I can get more value out of hiring a new Soldier because it adjusts my action economy. The Devil Lance exchanges the Steel Lance downside with damage, which I think is more useful. But it's also quite expensive. The Hatchet and Lunge Attack Axe require... using Fighters. When they have 3 move, I just am not doing that. The Longbow is the piece of equipment from the Armory I considered buying first. But I have no need for it, because by the time I thought I could afford it, I had Sages and Snipers - so enough movement to not need the +1 range. Thunder is useless. Dealing 20 damage to Knights - one shotting them - is not better than dealing 15 and meleeing them, because once again, I could buy a Soldier crest instead. Fimbulvetr is a tome I wish I had purchased because I made a mistake and it cost me a Sage. But I can't teleport items to the upper end of the map, and I expected to not make such a mistake at any point. But because Miracle requires HP>50%, it wouldn’t have saved me anyway!
It also doesn’t work if the attack occurs at 3+ range.

Fenrir is Dark type instead of Anima, so it can’t be used.

Heal restores 5 HP when used by a unit with 5 mag, not the expected 10 (5+5) HP. If I had known that it was going to lie, I would have had a use for Mend, but I thought the tooltip was truthful – so the one time I wanted a Mend I didn’t know I did.

Rescue and Sleep are obviously going to always be great.

Barrier, which I have no indication doesn’t work like vanilla, would be great…if I fought a mage more than almost never. And for that same reason, Silence is bad.

Changing Angelic Robe name-wise to Dragonshield weirded me out but it’s an item I kept thinking about buying before flooding the map – I wasn’t sure if I could really afford to take the turn to *use* it.

Elfire doesn’t show its stats, so I can’t justify buying it.
Excalibur being a 1-5 range tome is wild, but Sages already have 6 movement. Do I need 11 reach instead of 8? So far, the answer’s been not at all. But it’s also crazy expensive and I haven’t had need for better uncounterability due to the rarity of 1-2 range enemies.

Bolting and Nosferatu both seem extremely good but suffer again from “I would rather hire a new unit”.

Physic suffers “I don’t need reach”, and Fortify suffers “How often will everyone get hit”, so I never used either.

Warp doesn’t matter if I can flood the map to block every axis, Elixirs don’t matter compared to Vulneraries / base Heal.

I ONCE AGAIN cannot trust that the Energy ring will boost Magic on a magic wielder, but I also don’t really want that so it’s fine – but for once, this is a purchase I want to make….but have never seen an enemy that would justify doing it. The thing I want to do most with it, I forgot I can’t do – I want to throw it on the Fighters so they can mine faster, but their strength’s already capped! But actually trading it to a Sage, they can’t use it. Trading it to a Paladin, they couldn’t either. Nor could a Cavalier. So… even worse than “doesn’t boost magic on a mage”, I **trusted** that it would work and bought three of them, only to find out it did NOTHING for ANYONE. What a betrayal!

Swiftsoles, though, I nabbed…for the Dancer, the only unit whose movement matters due to being one of a kind.

The Vitality Ring being a swappable HP boost definitely earns it a high spot in usefulness from me but the price again worries me highly.

I ended up buying two Javelins and Longbows because of the Miracle Sages, because there wasn’t really a profitable way to fight their 15 damage without either 3 range or losing a unit.

But it also got me really thinking that I could just let the enemies kill my units. Because their attacks were limited because they stopped having Rightful Arch / Lucky, and having only 2 attacks a piece is not that bad.

And you lost all my remaining good will, which has been steadily draining over this long haul of an experience, because there’s two enemies who can’t attack. I can make a permanent choke with that.

And.. god, a 1-5 range attacker, on the same turn. I basically have to blitz down to them because they’ll kill three units if I don’t!
But I can’t actually REACH them, because they’re so far back. And I can’t really make a good formation because of the paladins threatening to kill me if I retreat.
So either I retreat and lose to Paladins, or try to attack and lose due to not being able to rush down fast enough?

Attempting to start initiate a combat against the Sage with the Excalibur crashes the game. This kind of makes anything else I wanted to say nonfunctional.

“I performed a basic game action and the game locked up and demon screeched at me”. This means -there was not enough playtesting- to verify that each thing actually worked. Because if you had, in fact, playtested your own map to this point, you would have realized “Ah, hell, why is the game exploding?” and then either fixed it or swapped it out to avoid the problem. Or at least you *should* have.

So as a result of “you can’t initiate combat on enemies with Excalibur”, while I had made many clever plans to deal with the problem unit, it is all irrelevant. I’ve just been told ‘lolno’ at the last second, the final hour.

And that’s extremely not okay. Like, I have a mind to give a zero for ‘did not play own game to the end’, levels of not okay.

But that’s fine: I can throw bodies at the problem until it goes away. Shame about my levelled up, invested with promotion, and also itemized units. It’s very fortunate that I spent many turns spamming out as many Cavalry as I could each turn so I had something disposable to send at the game-crashing enemy.

So I want to be clear.

Your gameplay, if it wasn’t buggy, suffers immensely from the clunkiness of how hiring units works, the lack of reason to engage with the systems present.

But it’s *charming* and it’s a cool take. A tower defense like take on normal Fire Emblem mechanics. I’m intrigued, but this doesn’t save the hack as presented.

A LOT of the game mechanics need to… work. Not “need work” as in they’re bad and need edits, but straight up a bunch of things don’t work the way their descriptions say they do or entirely do not function.

-It’s possible to get the advanced armory to not be enabled.
-Promoting to Pegasi gives no weapons (intentional?)
-Promoting to Wyvern gives no stats.

Assuming the Dragon’s stats are “1-2 range instant kill”; Pursuit Ring on a Sniper with a Longbow deals half its health; so it felt pretty killable to me? In fact, that was my concern often. There was dialogue to say some enemies were tougher, but a promoted enemy in this game’s scheme isn’t that much more than a base one. A lot of the time, it’s identical besides the movement points.

After spending in the realm of five hours of actually playing the hack I was simply drained and exhausted. This is not a battle of endurance, and having a submission that keeps going is worse than one that has the grace to go quick. The more things I saw and had to deal with the more disappointing the buggy features were, the more I had to sit there and deal with the clunky interface the more I just wanted to go do something else. That’s

But the playability was present. But a lot of things were broken.

Presentation: 2/5

i don’t care
your hack is perfect

Fly Me to the Moon / In Other Words for armory–
This is basically a hitlist of some of my favorite songs.

The Armory not having any text makes me very concerned about if things are bugging out or not.

The “Normal” difficulty “get 150g instead of 100g per turn” being implemented as a separate popup, instead of using branching, makes it feel like I’m punished for doing what the hack itself says is recommended – especially because it DOES accumulate all the OTHER sources of money into a single popup.

Having an Attack theme, but not an Enemy or Defend theme is weird to me.

The second map theme is nice and funky.

The third map theme’s got a constant crescendo nature which is cool – but each one just hurts, I flinch and wince with how the instruments sound at their higher points.

The mugs struggle. They’re not awful but they’re not very good. Hayden’s frames are misaligned and Elina’s neck feels broken at a glance.

Story: 2/5

There’s a story, with a lot of missing but important details, but I liked most of what was there. It’s choppy and not great but the beginning beats are nice.

The ending is superbly short and I was extremely perplexed by it. Why and what? It was… basically not an ending.

Total Score: 6/20

Judge 4: theghostcreator

Gameplay: 4/10

It’s unique but it’s also painfully boring. You’re just sending nameless soldiers with zero growth rates down hallways, it’s boring. The terrain also gives no buffs so it’s literally just smashing your blue guys into their red guys. A good attempt but this concept needs some work.

Presentation: 2/5

Admirable effort with custom portraits but they look bad and have TLP minis. The map also looks atrocious with no custom palettes.

Story: 2/5

Basically nonexistent with nothing properly explained.

Total Score: 8/20



Grand Total: 19/80

26th Position Overall